Category Archives: English First Year Composition

Relationship of Physical Activity to Overall Fitness

Soccer Team Photo

“Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person’s physical, emotional, and mental states.” – Carol Welch

Written by Bud Leiner

In this photograph, we see a group of young, athletic children. Their faces, highlighted with smiles, are bright and welcoming. Their chests adorned with medals of victory, demonstrating their valor and supremacy. The uniformity of their dress signifies their camaraderie and partnership. We can observe in the background, the mountain range depicting an enormous freedom. It brings in a sense of grandness and openness. The bright green grass contributes to this perception. The image describes the relationship between physical activity and childhood health, including physical, social and psychological.

Their physical health is largely apparent in their posture, facial expressions, and strong physical appearance. The physical activity is important to maintain throughout their maturation. Children who participate in physical activity have a tendency to remain active later in life (Perkins 499). Parents can empathize with this imagery, representative of successful, supportive involvement in their child’s life. As parents, we are often challenged to weigh the benefits of children’s activities against risk and rewards in all aspects of their lives. Through the analysis conducted by Perkins, et al, they demonstrated that children’s participation in sports through teenage years, produced a tendency for the individuals to continue active lifestyles at the age of thirty years old. This extended physical activity boosted those individuals physical well-being.

Fletcher also observed how children’s physical activity greatly improved their social and psychological aptitudes. We can identify specific mannerisms in this photograph to support Fletcher’s observations. The fact these children are teammates demonstrates the most obvious social interaction. Their reliance upon each other on the field helps develop trust and trustworthiness. Further, the children in the photograph are engaged with each other and, apparently, the photographer. This brings a familial appeal to the group. As Fletcher described “Children who were more involved in sports activities were rated by their teachers as more socially competent than peers who were less involved in such activities. Children who were more involved in sports activities also reported higher levels of psychosocial maturity.” (Fletcher 654)

Other aspects of the children’s lives are not as obvious in the imagery. For example, the physical activity of children also contributes to their scholastic performance. In Structured Leisure Activities, Anne Fletcher examined “children who were more involved in club activities received higher academic grades and were rated by their teachers as higher in academic competence than were their peers who were less involved in such activities” (Fletcher 653). The requirement in todays schools for children to maintain minimum grades to participate, is reflective of this observation.


I found it difficult to begin on this project. In an attempt to discover ideas, I browsed through various photographs of my children. As I looked at each photograph, I examined the images to discover visual content beyond the obvious subject. Through the process, I repeatedly observed my children engaged in various physical activities; be it soccer, football, hiking or a multitude of others. In my home, we customarily participate in sports and other outdoor events. Additionally, my children have consistently performed well academically and maintain healthy social engagements. Among their peers, I recognized the common physical participation in school events and  its relation to level of academic advancement. In some cases, the attributes demonstrate negative correlation. Photographs of my children’s scholastically gifted teammates participating in school and social get-togethers. I saw photographs of some of my children’s peers who performed below average, and coincidently were not engaged in these types of social or physical activities. When I came to this selected photograph, it was like an epiphany. The imagery stood clear, as I described early with the characteristics of the children’s appearances.

With my struggles developing a strong argument for this visual essay, reviewing my peers work allowed me to see other ways of interpreting the assignment. It gave me an understanding of where Part 2 of the assignment should lead. Considering those works, I added the last few paragraphs of this essay to bring a larger focus on the steps I followed to choose this image and claim. Although my peers pointed out the less-than-obvious nature of my visual argument, I could not determine how to change the image itself to more eloquently deliver the same argument. Instead, I changed much of the order of my writing and attempted to focus more earnestly on the benefits of physical activity. I also modified the examination of the imagery to more explicitly present the story I read in the photograph.

Even though my work on this was poorly planned and arranged, I continued to make every effort to understand the assignment and complete it on time. My first interpretation of the assignment led me to find a photograph to support an argument. I eventually discovered a quality in the selected photograph and my research focused on expanding the presented argument. After having completed most of my research to describe how childhood activity contributes to health in adulthood, I was posed with an alternate interpretation of the original instructions. It was suggested our writing should focus on directly answering the questions about our writing process. I elaborated on the writing using this new direction. I gained from both the understanding of the relationship between physical activity and mental health, and the observation of how the image revealed the related characteristics of these children.

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Works cited:

Fletcher, Anne C., Pamela Nickerson, and Kristie L. Wright. Structured Leisure Activities In Middle Childhood: Links To Well-Being. Journal of Community Psychology. 31.6 (2003): 641-659. Print.

Perkins, Daniel F., Janis E. Jacobs, Bonnie L. Barber and Jacquelynne S. Eccles. “Childhood and Adolescent Sports Participation as Predictors of Participation in Sports and Physical Fitness Activities During Young Adulthood.” Youth Society 35.4 (2004): 495-520. Online,



Review of Two-Lane (Repaved) by Nathan Henrion

Review of Two-Lane (Repaved) by Nathan Henrion

Fear is the acute sensation of hope leaving the body. – Nathan Henrion (2.116)

Two-Lane is a story about a man, heading off with his wife in an attempt to rekindle their relationship. When they end up trapped in the desert, fighting for their lives, an old hermit comes to their rescue. The lead character, Jack, discovers his life has led him away from his wife, Laura, and now he must fight to save her.

Overall, the book was very enjoyable and entertaining, with vivid imagery, strong character development and smoothly delivered plot direction. Nathan Henrion’s writing in this suspense thriller and paranormal story captures the reader’s attention. He keeps the reader engaged throughout the book making it difficult to put it down.

I really enjoyed this story. The imagery produced stays with you; I learned this first hand. I was out hiking at Thunderbird Conservation Park, north of Phoenix. It was early evening, so I rushed to get through my hike before nightfall. In my haste, I slipped on some rocks and injured my knee, straining the anterior cruciate ligament. While recuperating from the injury, I read Henrion’s Two-Lane (Repaved). After finishing the book, I returned to the same hike to attack the hill that had assaulted me a month earlier. As I approached the spot where I’d taken the tumble on my previous hike, I saw a thunderhead begin building in the distance over White Tanks Mountains. The dark menacing thunderhead brought back the description of the mountain storms Henrion used in “Two-Lane”; “Like a low, pitch black fog, a stream of shadows rushed north across the desert, at the base of the western mountains.” Strangely, as I approached the evil rock that had tripped, the thunderhead grew more ominous. I pressed on and, unsurprisingly, did not fall to my death; but the imagery of shadows swarming and attacking did cross my mind.

The author continues this vivid imagery throughout the story. He describes Boots from the two characters’ perspectives. Each description takes notice of visual impact from their separate personality traits. These contrasting viewpoints advance the development of the characters for Jack, Laura and Boots.

The character development leads the reader to empathize with both Jack and Laura. The lead character, Jack, appears self-absorbed, but the reader observes his conscious effort to save Laura. The reader wants Jack to succeed but knows he needs to change his ways. Laura remains with her husband, but knows their marriage ended years ago. The psychopathic murderer, Colten, continues his fight for some perceived purposeful force that manipulates him. The teenage girl, Molly, seeks maturity by running away from home, only to be abducted and held against her will. The forces of good and evil, Boots and Seth, combat to manipulate or direct the other characters actions.

Jack begins as a businessman seeking escape. As the writer reveals more of Jack to the reader, we observe his selfishness but also his self-consciousness. When Colten confronts Jack in the gas station, Jack reveals he struggles with a stuttering. Jack fantasizes about slamming Colten’s head into the counter for comments he made about Laura. The exhibition of the rage tendency develops another angle of Jack’s personality. The writer established Jack’s stuttering, but never used the speech disorder to reveal Jack’s nervous mental state when under pressure.

After introducing the subject violence in the Prologue, the writer restarts with subtler plot development. The writer gradually establishes and reveals the ongoing conflict between the Jack and Laura. The couple heads out across a desert highway to get away from the busyness of Las Vegas with the hope of reconnecting, but their solitude results in more conflict. This irritation continues through the story, culminating when Jack leaves Laura. After discovering his true feelings, Jack must drop his self-pity and employ all of his strength to rescue Laura.

Throughout the book, the author refers to the path heading up to the cave as a “two-trail”. I could not find this term or phrase in any reference book. I suspect the author intended to use the term “two-lane”, like the title of the book. However, “two-lane” would refer to a road designed to handle two lanes of travel, where as the key events in the story revolve around the trail between the rocks. The author correctly used “two-lane” to describe the highway where Jack and Laura stopped at the gas station. However, in this book, the phrase “two-trail” is used to refer to a narrow, single-lane path that weaves between rock walls to a clearing at the cave. A book title of “Two-Trail”, along with an informal reference labeling the path as “Two-Trail”, would have brought this together. In some aspects the author did attempt to deliver this title, but something more revealing, like the sheriff calling it by name, would have been more transparent.

I struggled to maintain a reading pace during some of the monologues and character interaction with Boots because of the phonetic dialect used for his character. At first, this established an accent or heritage that helps define the character. It became distracting in some of the sections with excessive use. In Part 2, soon after Jack regains consciousness, he stands near the cemetery staring at the gravestones. Boots joins him, “You sure yous fit to be outs here? Shuld be inside restin’ yousself.” (sic, 2.51) Here, for example, although “shuld” reads phonetically correct, the use of “should” would not have changed the tone, pronunciation or meaning of the sentence. In the next paragraph, Boots says “Not too many folk in dar wort’ da time for talk” (sic, 2.52). Again, the dialog can be read, but takes a little effort. I needed to read it multiple times to make sure I understood what the writer was trying to convey about what Boots was saying.

Overall, Nathan Henrion’s Two-Lane (Repaved) delivered entertainment very well. The author showed imagination and creativity with his character outline. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fiction.

Henrion, Nathan. Two-Lane (Repaved). Online: CreateSpace, 2009, from Smashwords, 2010. 18 Apr. 2010. <>


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Community and Commitment

Community and Commitment

“From community comes commitment and commitment builds community.” – D. Lark Gamey

The Oxford dictionary defines “community” as a group of people living together in one place; a group of people having a common characteristic (such as religion, race, profession, etc.); a fellowship based on common interests; or the condition of sharing or having certain attitudes and interests in common. Although any one of these definitions could apply, I believe the latter definition relates to the classroom environment.

Our community, as it is here in the classroom, is composed of a large number of individuals with unique backgrounds. We each contribute to the group in form that advances our full understanding of each subject through our expression of the communities from which we have come. In his article, Sichling compared community to neighborhood. The act of sharing familiarity with a topic produces a community. The neighborhood’s physical characteristic dictates a relationship based solely on location. In the case of a local neighborhood, the residents have specific interests that bring them together based on their surroundings. These interests include items such as physical appearance, easements, and education.

Within our classroom group, First-year Composition, we have predetermined subgroups referred to as “peer groups”. The relationship between the classroom group and the peer groups is metaphorical to the relationship between a city and neighborhoods. They are derived through a predetermined demographic. These smaller communities allow a more intimate exchange on the same subjects the larger group communicated. However, the lack of personal involvement in the assignment of these groups negates the commitment necessary to grow the community.

In his definition article published in Social Work and Society, Sichling wrote, “Therefore, community participation and local associations are presumed to build community, nurture cooperative behavior, nourish shared norms and transform local institutions into more effective instruments of democracy by making them more responsive to the preferences of citizens.” Our peer groups require similar participation. Members of the community, peer group, must actively participate for the structure to succeed.

The Oxford dictionary defines “commitment” as the act of committing or dedication, or an obligation that restricts freedom of action. Commitments occur voluntarily or dictatorially. Usually, they contain both levels of involvement. Here in the classroom, we enroll in courses and majors based on our interests and dedication. These enlistments we make mandate we continue by participating in dictated assignments. As described in Critical Situations (Crowley and Stancliff 7-8), the most powerful communication comes from “a real stake in an issue.” In our case, these stakes may derive from passing-grades or societal influence of our peer groups.

As hypothesized and demonstrated by Watson and Papamarcos, “the quality of communication will directly and positively affect levels of commitment to the organization.” (Watson and Papamarcos 544.) In our classroom and peer groups, our commitment returns a direct benefit to us through our involvement in these groups but only so far as we invest in those groups. Our projects and assignments solicit cognitive responses from the same communities and are equally dependent on our commitment to those communities. Our membership in our peer group community mandates we participate to further not only our own education but also the education of the other members of our group. The level of our commitment to the group bears directly on the success of the group and our peers within that group.

The way we interact throughout our day exhibits this community and commitment integration. Our achievements directly reflect on how we apply these two definitions. I have defined requirements for success in my work environment dictated by my superiors (work production requirements). Similarly, I have levels of success dictated in my education (minimum scores for passing grades). I have social expectations applied by groups with which I engage, such as my children’s soccer teams and friends with whom I hike. I also have moral requirements for the success of my family and loved ones. Each of these commitments to communities weighs on how the other commitments influence my daily activities. I apply different levels of commitment to determine how each will affect me.


Works Cited

Crowley, Sharon and Michael Stancliff. Critical Situations: A Rhetoric for Writing in Communities. New York: Pearson Education, 2008. Print.

Florian, Sichling. “Community.” Social Work and Society 16 July 2008: 6(1), Glossary. Retrieved 10 September 2010, <>.

George W. Watson, & Steven D. Papamarcos. (2002). “Social Capital and Organizational Commitment.” Journal of Business and Psychology, 16(4), 537.  Retrieved 19 September 2010, from ABI/INFORM Global. (Document ID: 352548651).


Turn It Down

12 May 2010

Turn It Down – Proposing A Solution To Noise Disturbances In Dormitories

Bud Leiner, Sharon DelRosario, and Diana Alvarez

When we first started, our group consisted of just Sharon and Bud; Diana joined later. Our group focused on the Musical or Sound-Smart category of Multiple Intelligence (MI) theory. When thinking of music, we did not identify a problem with it directly. This made it hard in the beginning to choose a topic. Prof. Richards Young clarified the instructions, guiding us to use the MI category in our presentation, as oppose to focusing on music.

During our first get-together in class, we brainstormed ideas. We talked about roommates and conflicts between people in the dorms. Sharon brought up how noise carries between adjoining rooms. The thinness of the dorm walls does not dampen the sounds. If they were thicker, it would likely eliminate a lot of conflict between suite mates and neighbors. Sharon and Diana actually live in the dorms themselves and know all about this. So, this was the perfect topic for them.

We talked in class and came up with a possible solution; make the walls more soundproof. For this, we each planned to investigate different ways to soundproof walls. Knowing the University’s current budget circumstances, we also had to consider the economic impact of our solution. That day in class, we also talked about how we could incorporate music into the project without having to actually go up and embarrass ourselves singing or doing something crazy. We decided to perform a skit to demonstrate the problem and solution.

We outlined a general overview of the project and arranged to meet during the weekend. Via email and text messaging, we talked about solutions we thought were best to sound proof the walls. We concluded that Wavebar Quadzero by Pyrotek would be our best option. It is lower cost, durable, and best of all, effective. We met up at Sharon’s dorm on Sunday and each brought the supplies that we assigned each other. While there, we built the simulated wall before and after the installation of the sound barrier material. We talked about how the sound barrier works, who makes it, and how to install it. We also made up a little skit of two college suite-mates not getting along because of the noise disturbance. The following class, Tuesday, we presented the problem and solution and it went very well.  Everybody got a good laugh at the skit and at the same time, it was informative.

We worked well together as a team. The project achieved the assigned goals. We grade the presentation an A- grade. Sharon was very involved with writing, presenting and preparing. She should receive an A grade. Diana participated with preparing and presenting. She should receive an A- grade. Bud participated with writing and presenting. He should receive an A- grade.



Just Another Writer’s Block In The Wall

27 April 2010

Just Another Writer’s Block In The Wall

“Writing is 90 percent procrastination: reading magazines, eating cereal out of the box, watching infomercials. It’s a matter of doing everything you can to avoid writing, until it is about four in the morning and you reach the point where you have to write.” – Paul Rudnick

The American Heritage Dictionary defines writer’s block as: “A usually temporary psychological inability to begin or continue work on a piece of writing.” The definition sums up my current predicament rather accurately. When you fear failing or seek perfection, your brain will find ways to protect you from those fears, even if it means not accomplishing the task.

As I prepared to write this research essay assignment, I discovered I was not able to find a topic that I wanted to study and write about. I began considering various topics but for one reason or another the topic no longer fulfilled my need to write. As my imagination searched for topics to consider, it always came back to a single thought. “Everything I’m thinking is a bad writing idea. I can’t think of anything good enough to consider.” I repeatedly found myself engaged in nonsensical distractions and habits.

As an attempting to find a way through my block, I chatted with friends and coworkers. In one exchange with a coworker, I said, “Maybe I should just write about the inability to write.” At first, I joked with the idea, but as we talked and shared ideas, I began to consider it as a legitimate topic.

I started looking into how this subject might work. I learned writer’s block is very common, even among professional writers. Writer’s block is a tedious phase a writer must fight through. Like a baseball pitcher in a slump, the writer must continue to step on the mound and attempt to throw strikes. In my research, many articles simple tell you to quit procrastinating.

Harold Rosenberg, Ph.D., wrote, “Whether we call it “writer’s block,” or procrastination, or just plain laziness, almost everyone of us … had difficulty completing a writing project….” Rosenberg went on to describe how writer’s block commonly results from how we’ve done things in the past (Rosenberg 40).

I witnessed when I begin procrastinating, it feeds on itself and I’ll delay for extended periods. The enormity of the task swells with the anxiety of not being able to write. John Walsh described how “the blank page before you grows to the size of a tablecloth.” Walsh pointed out “Some of history’s most famous, and prodigiously fluent, authors suffered temporary cessations of text: Leo Tolstoy, Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway, Joseph Conrad, Katherine Mansfield” (Walsh 22). Dennis Upper demonstrated the unprejudiced onset of writer’s block with an article he had published in Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, wherein he published a blank page. Quite comically, the reviewer of Upper’s article pointed out he saw no mistakes in the article (Upper 497).

However, Peggy Simson Curry wrote, “… being unable to write is primarily a state of mind.” “This insidious thinking persuades the writer to question every story idea that comes to him” (Curry 22). Curry’s writing hit my story on head. The fear of not writing, echoes back the fear itself. The inability to write is in your head. That may not always be true, often you just need to reevaluate how you are approaching your topic.

In his book, “Writer’s Block: The Cognitive Dimension”, Mike Rose described how teachers want students to be explorative in their writing. But he also points out how that conflicts with the student’s process. By spending time trying to compose to meet the presentation requirements, the student focuses on grammar and structure over exploration (Rose 72-73). Stephen Fry wrote how “absurdly difficult” it is to write until it becomes easier. Fry went on to quote, indirectly, Thomas Mann, “A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people” (Fry 2).

It is so difficult to get over a hill, but when you reach the top, the resistance subsides and you gain momentum as you continue your journey. And my writing is much like that hill. Once I can begin to write, I can continue to advance toward my goal.

My inquiry forced me to evaluate how my writer’s block developed and how I subconsciously encourage the stranglehold it exerted on my writing process. I learned the writer can accept the writer’s block but must not dwell in it. Writer’s block will occur, so I, the writer, need to understand the steps necessary to move through it.

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AYE! EEE! The Fear In Internet Explorer

11 March 2010

AYE! EEE! The Fear In Internet Explorer

“The fact that Internet Explorer is so widely deployed makes it a prime target. This, combined with the ‘social engineering’ aspect of these attacks – tricking the users into installing or clicking on something they shouldn’t – means the browser will continue to be a focal point of attack.” – Neil MacDonald, Gartner Research

As an information technology professional, I work with computers everyday. Of all the browsers I’ve used, I have grown to detest Internet Explorer for many reasons: Internet Explorer runs as part of the operating system; it lacks standards compliance; it lacks innovation; its excess features endanger the consumer, and; Internet Explorer is slow.

My first Web browser was Mosaic. It is a simple browser designed for uncomplicated web page viewing. Mosaic, a kludgy computer program, delivers the Web in a very minimal form. I used it during the early 1990’s. In the mid-1990’s, my preferred Web browser became Netscape Navigator. It was based on Mosaic’s Web engine. Navigator was very innovative in its day, but it had its share of bugs. Internet Explorer came about in the mid to late 1990’s based on technology similar to Netscape Navigator. All Web browsers evolve throughout the years to allow us to really understand the presentation a designer is trying to convey. During my career, I have used many different Web browsers, sometimes by choice and other times out of sheer necessity.

Microsoft Internet Explorer is the most commonly used Web browser. But Internet Explorer has more than a few flaws and underachievements. When the Internet became popular in the late 1990’s, Microsoft intertwined Internet Explorer with its operating system, Windows. Soon thereafter, Microsoft accelerated its updates to Internet Explorer and became as good or better than their competitors. However, Internet Explorer never would fully support World Wide Web Consortium’s standards. Microsoft’s progress came to a halt after establishing dominance in the Web browser market. The changes Microsoft made to Internet Explorer added features that endangered its customers. This bloat not only put the end-users at risk, but it also increased the time needed to load the Web page.

During one of our scheduled computer system update cycles, I updated our company’s computers using what was called “Internet Connection Wizard”. I remember thinking, “I already have an Internet Connection. Why do I need to use a Wizard to connect?” I would eventually learn this was Microsoft’s attempt to replace the default Web browser on all Windows computers.

Microsoft’s connection wizard forced their otherwise unpopular Internet Explorer browser on us consumers. Internet Explorer 4 became part of the core operating system. By Microsoft imbedding Internet Explorer in the Windows operating system, the Web browser was now at the fingertips of every Windows user. Internet Explorer soon thereafter became the number one Web browser because there was zero cost to the consumer and it was already installed on their computers. Netscape tried to fight back, both by changing its business model and fighting in court. However, Netscape would fail and die a painfully slow death. Well, near death, because it would be resurrected in an open source development named Mozilla and later renamed to Mozilla Firefox.

World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international group that establishes acceptable design standards for the Internet and Web languages. Based on W3C’s approval of new standards, Web browsers take steps to implement and accept those standards. This is often referred to as being “standards compliant”. Some Web browsers stay at the cutting edge of compliance and others only adopt those standards when they have no other choice. There are also browsers at the other end of the spectrum that implemented their own “standards”.

Achieving a near monopoly on Web browser market, Microsoft reached a point of over-confidence. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer made a couple advancements through versions 4 and 5. However, the other browsers made marked improvements through multiple generations in their products. New Web browsers came to the market place, including Firefox, Opera, Safari and eventually Chrome. These browsers innovated the interface and improved the performance.

In the State of Arizona offices, the Human Resources agency (HRIS) contracted to have Lawson setup a user portal where employees could maintain their own benefits elections. The system took advantage of some system holes in Internet Explorer 6 to allow specific types of code to execute. Lawson’s design made it impossible for other user platforms, like Apple Mac OS X, to use the system. But, the errors didn’t stop there. When Microsoft discovered a major vulnerability in some forms of Web scripting, Microsoft released Windows patches to fix these flaws. Lawson, the HRIS contractor, had to release emergency updates to allow their system to continue to function. Six months after that update, Microsoft released a major update, Internet Explorer 7. This update, again, included fixes to major security flaws and broke the HRIS system. Working at a computer help desk, I was able to witness this first hand through all the support calls.

The complacency of Microsoft also added a greater danger. Unscrupulous programmers, with a grudge against the giant Microsoft, sought out axes to chop down the beanstalk. Microsoft’s long stagnation with Windows and Internet Explorer gave the hackers the opportunity to discover and take advantage of flaws in the Windows operating system.

ActiveX is one of Microsoft’s non-standard designs for their Web interface. ActiveX controls are objects in the Web browser that actually runs other programs on your computer. These ActiveX controls have full privilege and access to Windows. The direct access to the Windows operating system gives the webpage designer access to areas of the operating system that control key functions. Because Microsoft so closely intertwined its operating system with the Web browser, once a hacker broke the thin security of the Web browser, they had also broken the operating system. As an IT specialist, I receive advisories from Microsoft on a daily basis. Three out of every five of these announcements report newly discovered vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer.

The specialized controls Microsoft added increased the amount of processing needed to show the Web page. On standardized benchmarks, such as SunSpider JavaScript, Microsoft Internet Explorer is rated the slowest of the five leading Web browsers. Google Chrome is the fastest, followed by Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, and, in fourth is Opera. As for standards support, Internet Explorer failed the ACID3 test. ACID3 is an online standards compliance test. Peacekeeper rates Chrome number one followed by Opera, Safari, Firefox, and lastly Internet Explorer. Peacekeeper is an online Web browser performance test.

In recent years, Microsoft has added support for many of W3C standards. However, the new features brought into version 8 are common in other Web browsers. Microsoft has still neglected many design elements common in other browsers, such as Cascading Style Sheets version 3, Scalable Vector Graphics and HTML version 5.  Firefox has for many years included nearly all of the features Microsoft added to Internet Explorer. Opera has always been an industry leader in Web browsers, it has the highest security rating, and it includes many features Internet Explorer refers to as “new”.

The latest version of Microsoft Internet Explorer, version 8, has addressed many of these issues, but has still trailed its competitors. Internet Explorer does have a couple new features that are noteworthy. The tabs can be color coded to give it a visual distinguishing characteristic. Internet Explorer now includes an option to prevent recording of cookies and searches called InPrivate mode or, as it’s more affectionately referred to as, “Porn Mode”. This mode gives you some security when using a public computer to check semi-private accounts.

Although Microsoft Internet Explorer has almost caught up to its competitors, again, their continued poor demonstration of constructive design gives me no desire to place my personal data anywhere near its interface. Internet Explorer’s greatest hope is to reach mediocrity.


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Spatial Intelligence

26 January 2010

Spatial Intelligence

Spatial intelligence is a term applied to the ability to conceptualize objects and their relationships in your mind. It is sometimes called visual thinking or visual intelligence. It is used to formulate decisions based on perceived obstacles. A hiker applies spatial intelligence when he uses a compass and visual awareness of his surroundings to determine his location on a map. Spatial intelligence also can be demonstrated in loading luggage into a vehicle. By visualizing how each piece or bag will occupy space, a person can identify the order and placement to maximize the available space.

However, the spatial, or visual, intelligence moves beyond just the physical traits. This can be an important skill for writers. Dr. Gerald Grow described that through metaphors “[w]e communicate new thoughts by linking the unknown to the known by means of spatial intelligence.” This was demonstrated last semester in our class when we used outlines, maps and drawings. The abstract mapping allowed us to view our writing subject from a different angle and to see how it related to other parts of our writing.

Search engine used for research: Clusty — Clusty is a metasearch engine that combines results from multiple sources including Yahoo!, Ask, Bing, and others. Vivísimo, a company founded by Carnegie Mellon University scientists, developed Clusty. An important feature of Clusty is its ability to cluster results based on subject; it compares this grouping to subfolders.


URL: by Gerald Grow, Ph.D., Professor of Journalism, Florida A&M University; accessed January 24, 2010.

URL: by Andy Carvin; accessed January 24, 2010.

URL: from Wily Walnut; accessed January 24, 2010.

URL:, “Connecting Learning Styles and Multiple Intelligences Theories Through Learning Strategies: An Online Tutorial for Library Instruction” by May Ying Chau; accessed January 24, 2010.

URL: by David Fairley; accessed January 24, 2010.


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